Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2019
  • 978-1797761350 B07RQHPQ5V
  • 282 pages
  • $5.99
Audio Details
  • 02/2020
  • B084FYH7H6
  • 282 pages
  • $7.49
Paperback Details
  • 07/2019
  • 978-1797761350
  • 282 pages
  • $16.99
The Means That Make Us Strangers
Home is where your people are. But who are your people? Adelaide has lived her whole life in rural Ethiopia as the white American daughter of an anthropologist. Then her family moves to South Carolina, in 1964. Adelaide vows to find her way back to Ethiopia, marry Maicaah, and become part of the village for real. But until she turns eighteen, Adelaide must adjust to this strange, white place that everyone tells her is home. Then Adelaide becomes friends with Wendy and the four other African-American students who sued for admission into the white high school. Even as she navigates her family's expectations and her mother's depression, Adelaide starts to enjoy her new friendships, the chance to learn new things, and the time she spends with a blond football player. Life in Greenville becomes interesting, and home becomes a much more complex equation. Adelaide must finally choose where she belongs: the Ethiopian village where she grew up, to which she promised to return? Or this place where she's become part of something bigger than herself?
Reviews
This powerful debut YA novel, set in the turbulent American South in the 1960s, captivatingly recounts the ostensible homecoming of 16-year-old Adelaide Henderson, the daughter of a white American anthropologist, who grew up in an Ethiopian village along with her two sisters. The book kicks off in 1964 as her family is moving back to Greenville, S.C., not long after the death of a fourth sibling in infancy. Adelaide promises her Ethiopian boyfriend that she’ll return when she turns 18. In Greenville, she feels like an outsider until she befriends the first five Black students recently accepted to her school. Though they’re sometimes reluctant to trust or confide in her, she learns through them how dangerous it is to be Black in Greenville; even though she doesn’t feel she fits in with other white kids, she is still treated much better than her Black friends.

Kindberg portrays the transition to American life in luminous detail, using each scene to explore another facet of the unfamiliar norms, sensations, and experiences of the Hendersons’ new home: soft beds, single braids instead of cornrows, attending school, seeing Shakespeare plays, driving, movies, the ocean. Adelaide is shocked by the racist way her friends are treated. Frederica tells her about the Klansmen who routinely sow terror in her neighborhood, and Nathan’s speech about Black rights is unfairly cut short by a teacher. After Lion is unfairly fired, Adelaide quits her job in solidarity. All the while, she saves up money for her return trip to Ethiopia, even as she becomes more attached to her American friends and the prospect of college.

Cleverly drawing readers into Adelaide’s life, Kindberg illuminates the injustice of segregation and racism without being preachy or didactic, portrays characters of various ages and backgrounds with dignity and tenderness, and expertly structures the plot. She draws this principled, independent, loyal girl so realistically that readers will feel they’re talking to an old friend. This beautiful novel will move readers as it immerses them in Adelaide’s coming of age and gently teaches ways to stand up for what’s right.

Takeaway: Teen readers interested in the civil rights era will be enthralled by this nuanced story of race relations in the 1960s American South, seen through the eyes of a white girl raised in Ethiopia.

Great for fans of Susan Follett’s The Fog Machine, Kristin Levine’s The Lions of Little Rock.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A+
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2019
  • 978-1797761350 B07RQHPQ5V
  • 282 pages
  • $5.99
Audio Details
  • 02/2020
  • B084FYH7H6
  • 282 pages
  • $7.49
Paperback Details
  • 07/2019
  • 978-1797761350
  • 282 pages
  • $16.99

Loading...